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Two Multiverse Shots and a Glass of Merlot

by Melissa Marie Watson about a year ago in fantasy
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Things aren't always what they seem to be.

Photo by Mathilde Langevin via Unsplash.

I bit my lip and looked down at my white manicured nails clutching the stem of my wine glass, hypnotized by the swirl of my Merlot as I pivoted my wrist methodically. I took a long, gentle sip and made eye contact with my date.

“Who are you?” I asked playfully.

He shrugged. “I guess you’ll have to stick around to find out.”

“Oh yea?”

“Are you up for it?”

“I like a good challenge.” I was biting my lip again.

He stood up and put out his hand.

“Let’s go.”

“Where?”

“You’ll see.” He raised his eyebrows up and down a few times. I giggled softly and took his hand. We glided across the restaurant and out the front door.

Before I knew it we were deep in conversation like old friends, strolling down the street blocks and blocks away. I was in a trance. His deep brown eyes, dark curly hair - that smile. He was intelligent, sweet, sexy. The next thing I knew, we’d been talking and walking for hours.

“Hey, what were you going to show me?”

“We’re almost there.”

“Really?”

We turned a corner, then another, and suddenly we were in a place I didn’t recognize. A dark, industrial-looking part of town.

“Where are we?”

I started to get worried. Had I just made a huge mistake? I just met this man tonight. He could be the next Ted Bundy for all I know. We walked in silence for a few moments as I tried to create a plan to safety.

I stopped walking and looked at him. “Maybe we ought to be heading back?”

He grabbed my hand tightly in his. “Wait - no. I really am taking you somewhere special, trust me. You will want to see this. You do trust me, right?”

I felt a chill run up my neck. We had come to a run-down looking building with a red door. It looked like it may have once been a secret grunge club or a biker bar. He smiled and nodded at the door.

“Here?” I started thinking he was taking me to some strange dive bar. “Why here? I’d rather go back to Merlot and Me.”

“Believe me. You won’t want to miss this.”

As he opened the door, I realized that I did not trust him. How could I? I barely knew him. So what if he was charming and intelligent. So was Ted Bundy. They both had the same curly hair. But he was there inches from me waiting for me to enter and I didn’t even know where I was. There was no one else in sight. I had no choice but to wade it out.

“Here we are. Are you OK? You seem tense. Trust me.”

I didn’t, but I walked through that door anyway. I didn’t know my life would be changed forever. Sure enough, it looked like a crusty, alcohol-soaked dive bar. It smelled like old beer. Every time I lifted a foot to take a step I got stuck on the sticky floors. It was like a human fly trap. It was dim-lit and completely empty.

“I think they are closed; We should go.”

“I assure you, they are open….Sirius?”

A slender, old looking gentlemen with a long white beard walked out from behind the bar.

“Well, hello there my friend.” Smoke came out of his mouth as he spoke, as if he had just inhaled a cigarette, but hadn’t exhaled yet. “What can I get for you and this pretty lady?”

“We’ll have two multiverse shots.”

“What’s that? I don’t really do shots. I’m more of a wine-o.”

“Trust me.”

“You keep saying that…”

The bartender placed two shots in front of us. They were swirling blue, purple and white with a sparkling glitter that looked like stars. “It looks like a galaxy. Is that Goldschläger?”

“I am not sure, but it’s beautiful and delicious. Are you up for the challenge?”

I hesitated for a moment. He smiled looking into my eyes. His eyes were still nice looking despite everything. I grabbed my shot up, we clinked glasses, and threw them back.

It tasted like gasoline and cough syrup.

“Wow that was beautiful and disgusting!”

“Time to go," he jumped up and reached for my hand.

“Already...I mean fine by me actually but that’s it?”

We headed for the door. He opened it and I stepped out stunned at what I saw next.

It was bright and sunny, there were cute shops and restaurants lining the street on both sides. All I heard was the hustle and bustle of a busy street. People were walking their dogs, going for jogs, laughing, eating, talking. Everyone looked happy; Everyone was glowing.

“Where are we and how did we get here?! Did you drug me? You drugged me! That shot tasted like chemicals. I swear."

He pointed behind us and there was that same red door, and that same dive bar, but this time it was surrounded by lovely looking shops, brunch spots, and coffee shops.

“I wish you would try to trust me. We’ve had such a good night.”

All I could think was to pull the door handle to get back to where I was.

He put his hand up. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. That could complicate things.”

I did it anyway. I didn’t trust him after all; how could I? I stepped inside and there were several people sitting around drinking. I looked at the bar. Right where I was sitting was a woman with long black hair, a red dress and heels. I just stared at her. I slowly started walking towards her.

“Don’t do it. I’m telling you.”

I didn’t listen. I kept walking, studying her. She turned her head and saw me staring. We met eyes. I gasped. She was my doppelgänger, my twin.

“Everything OK?” She asked calmly.

“Uh...who are you?”

“I’m Annie. Who are you?”

“I’m Annie!” I shouted. By now my date was standing shoulder to shoulder with me and he hugged my shoulders.

“You!” Annie said as she saw him approach.

“I’m sorry Annie. I’m sorry to bother you. Bad timing. We saw you here and well...We’ll be going now.”

She looked annoyed. “Listen honey, you can have him!”

Stunned, I slowly started backing away. We flew out the red door a second time.

“What in the hell is going on?! Why wasn’t she as startled as I was that we look like twins and have the same name?? Doesn’t that seem a little strange to you?”

“She wasn’t shocked because she can’t tell you look like her OK. She doesn’t know.”

“That makes zero sense.”

“Listen, in a way she is you, but in a way she isn’t. She is just living her life. She didn’t drink the drink. She didn’t go through the door. Not really. Not like we did.”

“How did she get in there if she didn’t use the door?”

“She used that door, but not the portal door. We went through the portal door which is right near the red door. It is hard to explain.”

“Try. Try to explain!”

“Let’s go somewhere to talk. Do you like sushi?”

“We just ate.”

“Sort of. Are you hungry?”

“Weird. My stomach is growling.”

Once again he took my hand and guided me down the sidewalk. A few buildings down he pulled out a steel black chair and I sat down. The waiter came up and he ordered a ton of sushi. My stomach growled again. I sat in silence. I just sat with my thoughts: The only thing that makes sense is that he drugged me, took me here when I was passed out and the bar happens to look the same. He took me here where he knew I had a doppelgänger. He paid that woman to say her name is Annie. He is a crazy, Ted Bundy serial killer! He kidnapped me and drugged me. I have to figure out where I am so I can get out of here. I have to get away from him.

“So, are you ready to hear me out and to trust me?”

No, I did not trust him. “Yes, please do explain.”

“I met you one day at the grocery store. Our eyes met. I made cheesy conversation. You were polite. I’m sure it happens to you a lot. You are beautiful. I made you laugh. I asked you out. I took you to a lovely dinner. We danced outside, it rained, we kissed. I fell deeply in love with you, with Annie that is. We fell in love.”

Wow, this guy has lost it.

“Annie. Everything was perfect. I proposed. The problem is that you got a new job and you became so career driven. You wanted to make more money. You cared more about your career than anything else. I was OK with that, but it swept you away. You changed. You became close with friends that I couldn’t connect with. You ended up cheating on me. I wanted to forgive you, but you wanted to stay with him. I believe if you never pursued that new lifestyle you never would have cheated. You would have stayed in love with me forever. Then, I discovered this portal - by chance in a way. But there is no such thing as chance. I believe it’s because we are destined to be together. You and I, together forever. I was destined to find this portal and to find you. The version of you that works with me. You will stay with me. It’s you. I was meant to be with you instead of that Annie.”

I just stared at him, stunned.

“Your mother was a maid. She had depression and would lay in bed crying for days on end. Your father worked long hours at a factory, 12-16 hour days. You barely saw him. He smoked like a chimney until he developed lung cancer and died. You were an only child. You were bored and lonely. You made up stories in your head. Imaginary friends to keep you company. These stories and characters kept you happy and sane. That is why you’re a writer. The Annie in this universe abandoned that. She abandoned herself. You are the truest Annie and I am so, so in love with you. I came across the multiverse to find you. Just so we can be together. Can you please just try to believe me and give me a chance?”

As he spoke, I got butterflies. I had chills over my entire body. I remembered how I felt the whole night until we arrived in that seedy looking neighborhood. It was the best first date I’d ever been on. He was familiar. I was drawn to him. It was magnetic. He felt comfortable and safe like a teddy bear. His eyes were genuine, deep, pleading. There was a clear connection between us that was palpable. Everything he was saying sounded crazy, but there was really no way to explain what happened when we opened that red door and stepped on to the sidewalk. There was also no way for him to know those details about my life - I had never told anyone about those stories and characters. I rarely talked about my childhood. It made me sad and it was private. Being near him felt good, it felt right. I couldn’t make sense of anything he was saying, but I didn’t want to run away. I just wanted to be with him. He leaned across the table, touched my hair and kissed my cheek. I pulled him close, his lips to mine. Fireworks exploded in my soul, color patterns played across the back of my eyelids.

The waiter approached, “Drinks?”

“Two multiverse shots and the Jetbird Merlot.” I grinned like a child on Christmas.

“We have the Merlot...”

I locked eyes with my date and shrugged. “Let's do it.”

fantasy

About the author

Melissa Marie Watson

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